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The Casual Vacancy, a play-by-play review, part two.

I know I’m a bit late with this review, but I figured that I would start it up before the book club meeting. You know, because that’s considerate and jazz. This will be detailed as I go along, so y’all will be with me through the ride—which means this will be more than one post long, because, as you know, I need more series. Why not!? Warning, there will be spoilers and snark. Take heed.

Last time we got roughly ~100 pages into this tale of a fucked up small British town, which is filled with drama, drugs, more drama, wine, even more drama, even more drugs, and scandal. Shall we continue?

The Casual Vacancy, part two, “Olden Days,” continued.

Okay, so we left off on Wednesday, in this fucked up little town called Pagford and there is a sickening feeling that the lives of these already super miserable people are going to get more miserable. Hoorayyyy!!!

Pg105:  RIHANNA HAUNTS MY LIFE. Staaaaaaahp.

Pg110: Terri, Kay and Krystal, a Lifetime original.

Pg114:  Shirley is that scary woman that you don’t tell about your bad day because she spreads it all over town that you’ve ran over a child, have Hepatitis C, ate your cat for lunch and now can’t live with yourself, so you plan on distraughtly hurling yourself out of a window, even if you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. You know, while walking around in kitten heels and pastel pink. OH MY DEAR WORD SHE’S DOLORES UMBRIDGE.

Pg115: 5 bucks says that this ~mysterious computer~ is really from Terri the heroin mamma.

Pg121: This whole Sukhvinder dealio is making me so sad, because, girl, I’ve been there.

Pg128: “Parminder refuses to fuel our Stepford drug habits! We hate that bitch!”

Pg131: Guess who just got fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive imaginary dollaaaasss.

Pg133: Simon freaks the fuck out of me. Dude is definitely going to snap before the end of the book.

Friday.

Pg145: I’m so distraught over Sukhvinder’s sadness.

Pg149: Nooo, no nooo. I’m actually emotional over this, tearing up. Sukhvinder 😦

Saturday.

Pg154: Hello, inappropriate funeral comment. Thanks for that, Miles.

Pg156: Parminder’s fuck you to Shirley is so beautiful, poetic, etc.

Pg159: I haven’t been to church in years, but I’m preeeetty sure it is inappropriate to sexually fantasize at a wake, Samantha.

Author’s note: It has occurred to me that this is not going to hit Agatha Christie level of murder. There will probably only be one death (Barry’s), and the rest of the novel is going to revolve around the horrendous and banal activities of these retched people. I’m….kind of upset. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?! WHHHYYYYY?!

Pg165: Andrew’s attempts at being cool to woo Gaia make me cringe. Is this what all people go through to try to be cool? Glad I never did that shit grew out of that.

Pg168: “And he asked himself for the umpteenth time whether it was conceivable that flesh and bone wrought like that could contain a banal personality.” Andrew, if you’re asking whether or not a chick with a bangin’ body could also be a bitch, the answer is a resounding duh.

Pg175: My word, Fats better not impregnate Krystal to take on “propogun…propagating the species.” Also, do people really refer to condoms in Britain as johnnies? Well, okay. We all know she’s going to have some marginally incoherent reaction to him being so horrible in bed.

Summary of my feels: Okay, right when there is some passage of redeeming/accurate characterization (Samantha’s constant inappropriateness makes me laugh and I find the Jawanda family super relatable), the fact that I find the baseline story boring is bothersome, because no matter the developments that happen I know it all relates back to property matters and hoity-toity assholes having their panties in a bunch, and that sort of dampens my will to read it. BUT I SHALL CONTINUE. After all, what of the secret from Tessa? Why is Gaia trying to be friends with Sukhvinder? Will Robbie be taken away by child protective services? With Gavin get his head out of his own ass? Will anyone get their heads out of their asses? Only time will tell.

————

The Casual Vacancy, part three, “Part Two.” (—wait, what?)

Pg180: Oh, great. There is talk that a mis-prescription caused the death of Krystal’s (great?)grandmother, dealt of course by Dr. Jawanda, which means that Krystal is probably going to beat Sukhvinder to death because it’s always her fault for everything and ugghhhh I see this happeniiiinnnnggg nooooooooooooooo

Pg189: Dear Kay, you’re becoming suffocating. Wah wah wah your dead friend, but what about meeeee?

Pg192: I love that there was just a snide joke about how Samantha knew the people on the tv were Americans because their teeth were perfect. Yes, on so many levels.

Pg193: However, she really needs to stop fantasizing. This is becoming a serious problem and sort of distracting. Oh, a section about the lonely housewife! SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX. Come ooooonnnn JKR, you can do better than this.

Pg204: EVERYONE IS SO FUCKED UP.

Pg207: “[…] and perhaps a little bonus on days when the takings were up.” You gross, pervy old man.

Pg210: Somewhere along the line, something bad will happen about this whole nut allergy thing Andrew has going on. You don’t mention a detail like that twice without it meaning something. Maybe I will get my second death!

Pg215: So, Samantha changed her bra deliberately to one that would show every detailed line of the lace and padding? Well, okay, so that’s a bit Real Housewives of Orange County of her, so are her apparent sun-leathered boobs and clown makeup.

Pg220: I’d prefer a dinner with the Kardashian family to a dinner with this group of people. Holy freakin’ frijoles. Gavin’s obvious interest in Mary is going to end with a fight with Kay and we all know Samantha can’t cook for balls and keeps mentioning her sexual attraction to Vikram and/or boyband member and Miles is being overly solicitous and politically friendly. Guh-ross.

Pg229: That was the most painful dinner experience of my life.

Pg236: I really like Tessa. At first I found her super plain and filler material, but the more the  book goes on the more I like her. A snip here, a show of mother-bear tendencies—I hope one day I’ll be able to convey “white-hot fury” with just a look—there, looking out for the good of her family even when she feels like it’s hopeless…she’s a good mother and a good person, imho. I’m heartbroken that Ruth definitely suffers from battered woman syndrome, though.

Pg241: Holy crap Simon is going to go completely loco and kill someone. Or hospitalize someone. I am rooting for Andrew on one hand because dude totally is a monster dick, but this is not going to end well.

Pg243: Okay, so, Simon’s abuse is okay because he really means it. Right, you tell yourself that Fats.

Pg251: Man, nothing gets me hot quite like doing the nasty in a cemetery.

Pg253: Oh, Fats is adopted. Is that why he’s such a little shit? Is that Tessa’s secret? Having an adopted child is not dirty laundry, folks. Also, Krystal is getting more depressing. This isn’t going to end well.

Summary of my feels: Same feeling as before. There are a lot of loose threads and feelings of dread, because you know that nothing is going to end happily in this book, which makes it sort of tedious to continue. Fats’ near-rape of Krystal at the end was disturbing, so that will either continue or happen again in the next section, probably with him making light of it in an unfunny way. Part Three is also going to have more Simon being abusive, Gaia being manipulative, Krystal being depressing, Kay being clingy, Ruth being depressing, the Mollisons being assholes, etc. With the book half over, I’m on the fence. I know how I really want to love it, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen, because I think I’m just going to accept the faults of the book much like the characters accept the faults of their counterparts—but that doesn’t make it enjoyable. Still, I feel like I need to keep reading. The story may be droll, but her writing is still imaginative and captivating. Silver lining?

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